A lot of good things happened to help McDuffie County raise close to $200,000 for cancer research recently during the American Cancer Society Relay for Life May 14 and 15.
Besides people signing on to walk for those fighting the dreaded disease, a local citizen gave up a perfectly good riding mower he won, or rather his wife won, in a raffle. He gave it up so more money could be raised for cancer work.
From left, Thomson Fire Chief Rick Sewell, Mike Dudley and Garrett Edmunds show off the mower.
The Thomson Fire Department bought, at a discount, a mower from Sears in Thomson to be raffled off for the relay. The response, according to Thomson Fire Department Chief Rick Sewell, was outstanding.
"This year we nearly doubled our donation on the mower raffle. We saw a much greater response from city employees who decided to help by focusing on selling tickets. A lot of the credit goes to Wal-Mart for allowing us to sell tickets from in front of their store. It was a matter of everyone helping out. That's what got the job done," he said.
When the magic hour came to raffle off the lawnmower during the relay, close to 300 people gathered close around as the magic name was drawn. When Bob Knox Jr., Thomson mayor and co-chairman of the event, saw the name, he said, "This person needs this mower like they need a hole in the head -- Robin Dudley."
Mrs. Dudley was not present, but her husband Mike, came toward the podium to accept the mower as applause rose from the crowd. Mr. Dudley -- who operates Dudley Nurseries -- smiled and walked away with the ticket, and then stopped.
"I don't really need this mower. I've got a good one. I think I'll give this one back," he said.
The arrangement was made and Knox then set about auctioning the lawnmower valued at close to $1,500. There were several people in the crowd remarking they needed a new mower, but Garrett Edmunds bid $1,000 and won the mower with no contesting bids.
After the buy, Mr. Edmunds smiled and said. "Hey, I got a mower at a great deal, and the relay got another $1,000. The mower I had was a little old and it was time for a new one."
So instead of the raffle clearing $5,459 after the mower was paid for, the fire department handed $6,459 to the ACS.
Later Mr. Knox said the series of events was just another case of local people getting together to help others.
"That was a kind gesture by Mike and Garrett," he said. "The end result was another $1,000 helping to battle cancer."
A spokesman for Mr. Knox said Monday McDuffie County's total for the event had increased to $198,248, up $3,248 from last week's figure. The figure topped last year's amount by almost $60,000.